Tamrat Layne (born 1955) is an Ethiopian former politician and a converted born-again Christian. During the 1980s, he was a leader of the Ethiopian People's Democratic Movement (the forerunner of the Amhara National Democratic Movement), one of the groups that fought against Ethiopian dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam in the Ethiopian Civil War.
Tamrat Layne was born in 1955 and raised by a single mother in Addis Ababa. He led the Ethiopian People's Democratic Movement during the 1980s, fighting against Mengistu Haile Mariam in the Ethiopian Civil War. In an interview in 1988, he acknowledged that the goals of his movement were similar to that of the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front, such as its approach to national self-determination and foreign affairs. A self proclaimed atheist, he believed that “freedom comes out of the barrel of the gun.”
When Mengistu was overthrown in 1991, Tamrat Layne became one of the three-man EPRDF-TPLF junta ruling the country and then in the democratically elected government, the other members being Meles Zenawi (President) and Siye Abraha (Minister of Defence). His position was Prime Minister of the Transitional Government, in which capacity he served from June 6, 1991 until August 22, 1995, when President Meles Zenawi succeeded him as Prime Minister. While in power, he realized that his communist-socialist ideology was mistaken. He staffed important government posts with friends and was known for dressing well and his numerous extramarital affairs. Tamrat became deputy prime minister until October 1996. Zenawi announced that his multi-disciplinary failures and abuse of power made it impossible to keep him in the government.
On March 16, 2000, the Supreme Court sentenced Tamrat to 18 years in prison after being found guilty of corruption and embezzlement charges. He was accused of being involved in an illegal 16 million-dollar deal with a business to export Ethiopian textiles and 1,000 tons of state-owned coffee through a fake company. He claimed to be innocent of all charges against him. Kept in solitary confinement, he studied Buddhism, Islam, and eventually Christianity after a nurse slipped him a tract. He reported that while in prison, over the course of three consecutive nights he encountered a figure that he identified as Jesus Christ. He was freed on December 19, 2008 for good behavior and immediately joined a church in Addis Ababa. Since then, he has shared his faith experience with others. He has made appearances at several churches and universities.
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